Natural disasters

Natural disasters in Australia

Australia has been, and continues to be, impacted by natural disasters. Increased media attention, rapid spread of news through social media, and constant talk in the community about natural disasters impacts on all students, whether they have been affected directly or indirectly. Supporting students to understand and process a natural disaster, and to move forward following such an event, has positive outcomes for them, schools as a whole and the wider community.

By creating a safe space for students to discuss the complex issues associated with natural disasters, schools can enhance individuals’ and communities’ wellbeing and resilience. These issues include trauma associated with direct impact, feelings of helplessness and of wanting to do something, and anger at the perceived causes. It is important that students feel they are listened to and are aware of the support networks available to them.

ReachOut Schools has developed resources for students impacted directly or indirectly by a natural disaster. These lesson activities have been designed to support students to build resilience and improve their wellbeing. Concepts including ‘community resilience’, ‘sharing lived experience’, ‘coping with bad world news’ and ‘climate anxiety’ are explored using interactive and engaging activities to help students process their traumatic experiences and articulate their coping strategies.

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Classroom resources

Designed to be engaging and relevant to your students.

Resilience during natural disasters

Students learn about resilience and wellbeing, and about how communities can be supported in the aftermath of bushfires.


60 minutes

Coping during natural disasters

This lesson helps students who have been directly impacted by a natural disaster. Students use lived experience to evaluate how others have coped, and reflect on the strategies they have used and could use in the future.


60 minutes

Accessing professional help

This lesson will support your students in knowing how and where to access professional help to support them through a mental health issue.


60 minutes


Students explore their understanding of empathy and recognise how to respond to people’s feelings.


60 minutes

Wellbeing Fives

Energise, refocus and develop wellbeing in your students in 5 minutes.

Dealing with bad world news

Students analyse the impact of bad world news on their wellbeing and develop their own coping strategies.


5 minutes

Climate change anxiety

Students develop practical strategies for coping with climate anxiety.


5 minutes

Self-care during natural disasters

Using bushfires as an example, students identify ways to take care of themselves and their peers during a natural disaster.


5 minutes

'How are you going?' quiz

This quiz will help your students check in with themselves.


5 minutes

Helping a friend you are concerned about

Students practise having conversations to support friends experiencing mental health difficulties.


5 minutes

Resources for parents and carers

Share with parents and carers to support a whole school approach to student wellbeing.

Natural disasters, teens and stress

You can help your teen by being open to any stress natural disasters may cause and taking steps to help them manage it.

The impact of bushfires on teens

Learn how to help your teen manage the emotions that may come up from dealing with the bushfires.

How to make self-care a family priority

Self-care can be hard to prioritise. Get it front and centre for your family with these tips.

Stress management for teens

Relaxation techniques can be an effective way to manage stress both in the moment and over the long-term.

Resources for students

Engaging and reliable content for young people to support their wellbeing. 

Dealing with stress of natural disasters

While natural disasters are out of your control, there are things you can do to feel better and to get help.

Managing wellbeing during bushfires

During the bushfires, communities have shown their resilience and generosity of spirit in ways that can be empowering for those affected.

Self-care during bushfires

We've put together some tips with our mates from Hack on triple j to help you feel a little bit better about what's going on with the bushfires.

How to call a helpline

Calling a helpline is an accessible way to get the support you need. Learn more about what to expect when contacting a helpline and the kinds of help they can provide.